the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

Text Me Maybe: Smarter Real-World Integrations with Python

Gosh, it's been a year since I last posted! Let me try to make it up to you...

I took some existing talks on the road last year (to CodeMash, PyCon, and OSCON!) but I've once again put together something new for PyOhio.

So my family likes to know when I'm on the way home from work, but I'm lousy at remembering to text or call before I leave. Some basic "out of the box" geofencing solutions are available, but none of them are smart enough to understand situations like going to lunch where sending a "coming home" message wouldn't be appropriate. Luckily, we can assemble our own solution pretty quickly and cheaply with Python at the core, and we don't even have to run our own servers to do it!

In this talk I showed how I created a cloud-hosted, location-triggered SMS notification service with some decision-making smarts by combining IFTTT (If This Then That), AWS Lambda, Twilio, and just the right amount of Python.

The talk seemed to go really well, and I have been flattered and humbled by the volume of positive feedback I got about it. I hope it will inspire you to go have some fun making your smart things a little smarter.

Here are the slides:

Unfortunately there's no video due to a variety of AV issues, so you'll either need to use your imagination or convince the PyCon program committee to accept it for 2017. ;-)

And who knows, maybe I'll start posting more often (hahahaahhahaahahahahahahaha *wipes away tears* whoooo wow, who am I kidding?).

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Using Python to Get Out the Vote

After taking a year off from PyOhio due to a scheduling snafu (off-by-one errors apparently aren't just for software), I was delighted to be back this year, and with a fresh talk to boot.

This spring, I helped my wife with the data munging aspect of a school levy get-out-the-vote campaign. We mashed up school directory data with Ohio voter registration records to produce targeted contact lists for phone calls, mailings, and door-to-door visits, reducing redundant contacts and eliminating wasted contacts.

The technology involved is pretty straightforward, involving a little bit of Python and some pretty basic SQLAlchemy and Alembic (in fact, it was my first serious dive into both SQLAlchemy and Alembic).

The talk seemed to go pretty well, and I had some great conversations about it afterwards. Hopefully it will be inspiring or at least of some value to folks looking to do some useful things with Python.

Here are the slides:

And you can watch the video too.

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Shiny, Let's Be Bad Guys

A couple of weeks ago at the amazing-beyond-belief PyCon 2013, David Stanek and I presented a half-day tutorial. We used a deliberately-vulnerable web application to walk our students through the OWASP Top 10, giving them hands-on experience exploiting these problems and offering advice on how to mitigate them.

While we had concerns about the amount of material and the time available, not to mention the size of the class--we had about 80 people show up!--it seemed to go well, and we got a lot of positive feedback both during the tutorial itself and throughout the rest of the conference. One attendee even told us that thanks to our class, he'd fixed a security problem over lunch immediately after the tutorial! It was immensely satisfying to hear that we'd been able to catalyze some actual improvement in the world.

If the official feedback is good enough, we may look to run this again in the future, whether at smaller venues like PyOhio or next spring at PyCon 2014.

You can clone down the tutorial app if you'd like to follow along with the slides.

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Web Development with Python and Django

I had the honor of working with Mike Crute and David Stanek to produce and deliver an all-day tutorial session at CodeMash 2013, where we got folks up to speed on Python and then ran them through a series of iterative exercises as we built a small Django site together.

We promised slides, and though we took a bit of a break to celebrate and then enjoy the conference, I wanted to make sure we didn't wait too long before making them available. Hopefully they will be a useful reference in spite of their lack of the interactivity inherent in a live tutorial session.

You can clone down the sample code repository if you'd like to play along at home.

I think it's safe to say we had a great time presenting at and attending CodeMash and are looking forward to continuing to make sure Python is represented there.

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A Few of My Favorite (Python) Things

I promised I'd post the slides from my CodeMash talk, "A Few of My Favorite (Python) Things", and lo and behold, I have!

I seem to like a lot of dead things--web frameworks like Pylons and apparently the entire genre of Python podcasts (only one of the cited ones is apparently still alive... I should do something about that).

Anyway. CodeMash. Done. Whee! Time to relax.

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